A few takeaways from this list of the best-selling books of the year (so far).
Publishers Weekly has released the list of best-selling print books from the last six months, and there are a few interesting trends.
Firstly, people still like fiction, despite the near-constant thinkpieces about whether the novel is dead. Nearly half the books on this list are fiction, and the top adult bestseller of 2021 so far—Kristin Hannah’s The Four Winds—is an “epic novel.”
Not a single Trump-related book made the list. The politics-themed books on this list are uplifting (Obama, Amanda Gorman) or consistently timely (1984). It’s actually notable how “normal”—that is, non-topical—this list is. Last year’s list of print best-sellers was dominated by timely, Trump- and COVID-related titles (like John Bolton’s The Room Where it Happened, Mary L. Trump’s Too Much and Never Enough, and Bob Woodward’s Rage), and antiracism-themed titles like Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility and Ibram X. Kendi’s How to be an Antiracist. None of these titles remain bestsellers this year.
Also, as we all know but this list reminds us, Oprah is powerful. Her hands are everywhere on this list: she wrote a foreword to The Hill We Climb (#3), read The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse (#2) aloud in a video reading series, discussed The Four Agreements (#5) on her show Super Soul Sunday, promoted The Midnight Library (#6) and Keep Sharp (#11) on Oprah Daily, had Matthew McConaughey on The Oprah Conversation to promote Greenlights (#7), and chose Caste (#17) and A Promised Land (#13—though it didn’t need a bump) for Oprah’s Book Club. Correlation or causation? Interestingly, Reese Witherspoon’s book club spotlit Where the Crawdads Sing (#9) and Untamed (#15).
Here’s the full list of 2021’s best-selling adult print titles so far:
1. Kristin Hannah, The Four Winds (St. Martin’s)
2. Charlie Mackesy, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse (HarperOne)
3. Amanda Gorman, The Hill We Climb (Viking)
4. James Clear, Atomic Habits (Avery)
5. Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements (Amber-Allen)
6. Matt Haig, The Midnight Library (Viking)
7. Matthew McConaughey, Greenlights (Crown)
8. Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles (Ecco)
9. Delia Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing (Putnam)
10. Shannon Bream, The Women of the Bible Speak (Broadside)
11. Sanjay Gupta, Keep Sharp (Simon & Schuster)
12. Bessel van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score (Penguin Books)
13. Barack Obama, A Promised Land (Crown)
14. John Grisham, Sooley (Doubleday)
15. Glennon Doyle, Untamed (Dial)
16. V.E. Schwab, The Invisible Life of Addie Larue (Tor)
17. Isabel Wilkerson, Caste (Random House)
18. George Orwell, 1984 (Signet)
19. Sharon Jones, Burn After Writing (Pink) (TarcherPerigee)
20. Stephen King, Later (Hard Case Crime)
[h/t Publishers Weekly]